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Tackling the Nature Emergency

Reading Time 1 minute and 50 seconds
Date 4 January 2024
The findings of previous research and reports have left little doubt that our biodiversity and natural habitats are in a bad way. For example, Scotland is ranked 28th from bottom in terms of ecological intactness globally, keeping hold of only 56% of its historic land-based biodiversity (Sanchez-Ortiz et al, 2019). Amongst other alarming findings, the most recent State of Nature report found that, on average, Scottish wildlife has declined by 15% since 1994, and the distribution of our flowering plants has decreased by 47% since 1970 (Walton et al, 2003).

St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust was delighted, therefore, to have the opportunity to respond to the Scottish Governments recent consultation: Tackling the Nature Emergency – strategic framework for biodiversity. This consultation invited comment on a number of issues, including the first five-year delivery plan, the frameworks for Nature Networks and proposed 30x30 goal for protected sites, and legislative aspects (the proposed Natural Environment bill).

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045 was first published (as a draft) in 2022 and has two ambitious and important objectives – to halt biodiversity loss by 2030, and to restore and regenerate nature across Scotland by 2045. The first five-year delivery plan aims to lay out how these objectives will be achieved.

We desperately need these ambitious and binding targets to help galvanise action towards restoring our biodiversity. StABG would particularly welcome:

  • Biodiversity policies and legislation placed alongside other areas of policy, and given sufficient weight and resources.
  • Clear, ambitious and SMART objectives which will be crucial to help us meet these targets
  • Ensuring that management and meaningful protection is in place for all protected sites and Nature Networks sites
  • The use of data and monitoring to ensure that we know what our actions are achieving
  • An investment in Scotland’s workforce to develop skills in nature restoration, and in particular for identifying and managing plants
StABGT is determined to do everything we can to understand, protect and restore plants and the habitats which they provide, both in this country and further afield. We are excited to see these ambitious plans from Scottish Government and are committed to working positively and collaboratively for the restoration and regeneration of nature in Scotland.

Sanchez-Ortiz, K., Gonzalez, R.E., De Palma, A., Newbold, T., Hill, S.L., Tylianakis, J.M., Börger, L., Lysenko, I. and Purvis, A. 2019. Land-use and related pressures have reduced biotic integrity more on islands than on mainlands. bioRxiv, p.576546.

Walton, P., O’Brien, D., Smart, J., Burns, F., Basset, D., BradferLawrence, T., Foster, S., James, B. D., Mancini, F., Mordue, S., Pakeman, R. J., Pescott, O. L., Simkin, J., Stanbury, A. J., Towers, M. 2023. State of Nature Scotland 2023, the State of Nature Partnership. Available at: www.stateofnature.org.uk

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